Impaired calcium mobilization in natural killer cells from chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patients is associated with transient receptor potential melastatin 3 ion channels

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Nguyen, T
Johnston, S
Clarke, L
Smith, P
Staines, D
Marshall-Gradisnik, S
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Transient receptor potential melastatin subfamily 3 (TRPM3) ion channels play a role in calcium (Ca2+) cell signalling. Reduced TRPM3 protein expression has been identified in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) patients. However, the significance of TRPM3 and association with intracellular Ca2+ mobilization has yet to be determined. Fifteen CFS/ME patients (mean age 48·82 ± 9·83 years) and 25 healthy controls (mean age 39·2 ± 12·12 years) were examined. Isolated natural killer (NK) cells were labelled with fluorescent antibodies to determine TRPM3, CD107a and CD69 receptors on CD56dimCD16+NK cells and CD56brightCD16dim/– NK cells. Ca2+ flux and NK cytotoxicity activity was measured under various stimulants, including pregnenolone sulphate (PregS), thapsigargin (TG), 2‐aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2APB) and ionomycin. Unstimulated CD56brightCD16dim/– NK cells showed significantly reduced TRPM3 receptors in CFS/ME compared with healthy controls (HC). Ca2+ flux showed no significant difference between groups. Moreover, PregS‐stimulated CD56brightCD16dim/–NK cells showed a significant increase in Ca2+ flux in CFS/ME patients compared with HC. By comparison, unstimulated CD56dimCD16+ NK cells showed no significant difference in both Ca2+ flux and TRPM3 expression. PregS‐stimulated CD56dimCD16+ NK cells increased TRPM3 expression significantly in CFS/ME, but this was not associated with a significant increase in Ca2+ flux. Furthermore, TG‐stimulated CD56dimCD16+ NK cells increased K562 cell lysis prior to PregS stimulation in CFS/ME patients compared with HC. Differential expression of TRPM3 and Ca2+ flux between NK cell subtypes may provide evidence for their role in the pathomechanism involving NK cell cytotoxicity activity in CFS/ME.

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Clinical and Experimental Immunology

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© 2016 The Authors. Clinical & Experimental Immunology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Society for Immunology, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 187: 284–293. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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Cellular immunology

Immunology not elsewhere classified

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